Book Review - Invitation to Biblical Interpretation

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This large volume has already positioned itself as a premier textbook for hermeneutics for evangelicals. The authors; one an OT commentator, and one a NT commentator, have put a lot of thought into their production. The publisher has produced an attractive, well planned volume.

But why buy this book over others? The collaboration of Klein, Blomberg and Hubbard,Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (2nd ed.), covers all the main introductory issues. The Kaiser/Silva Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics (2nd ed.), intriguingly allows digression between the authors. Bauer’s Inductive Bible Study updates Traina’s famous manual. I am partial to Zuck’s Basic Bible Interpretation as a “safe” starter. And, of course, there are many others. So what does this book have going for it?

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An Interview on the State of Contemporary Dispensationalism

Editor’s note: This interview dates back to last fall, but I only recently discovered it—and found it quite interesting. The interview was conducted by Adrian Isaacs, M.Rel., Th.D (Cand.). He interviewed Dr. Christopher Cone for dissertation research at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto.

Isaacs: In your estimation, how would you describe the current level of scholarly, academic discussion regarding dispensationalism within the overall evangelical academic community (eg. virtually non-existent, some discussion exists, still a fair amount of discussion)?

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Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Part 11)

(Read the entire series.)

As I bring this series to a close, I want to provide some summaries of the various rapture positions, along with a few pros and cons. Of course, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and I understand that much more could be said in support of each position. Still, my main goal has been to come at the doctrine from a slightly different angle and to present the theological issues which arise.


The posttrib position is that the church goes through the Tribulation. Proponents of this view rightly call attention to what they see as a natural correspondence between the Second Coming of Jesus and the rapture of the Church. Christ only comes once, they say, and it makes no sense to seek out any other event slotted into God’s calendar seven years before that great event.

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Covenants: Clarity, Ambiguity, and Faith (5)

Read the series so far.

As I have said, at the most rudimentary level covenants are for the purpose of reinforcing plain speech about specific things. They do this formally in the terms of the covenant and its obligations upon specified parties. God holds human beings to the very words of their covenant oaths (Jer. 34:18, Ezek. 17:15c). The Bible also indicates that God “keeps covenant” (Deut. 7:9, Neh. 9:32, Dan. 9:4). We would expect no less from Him who cannot lie and who does not change.

Of all verbal communications, written and oral, surely the most steadfast and adamant are covenants. And surely the least ambiguous and fluid would also be covenants?

The oaths in the covenants

The oath is the decisive ingredient in any covenant. We have already taken a look at the oath which the people took in answer to God’s Book of the Covenant in Exodus. Now we need to examine, if only briefly, the oaths of the other Divine covenants which can be easily spotted in Scripture. (There are certain covenants of a speculative nature which it is impossible to pin down in the text of the Bible. These include the three theological covenants of Reformed covenant theology; the so-called “Adamic” and “Edenic” covenants of some sectors of Dispensational theology; and the “Creation” covenant of New covenant theology).

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Covenants: Clarity, Ambiguity, and Faith (Part 4)

Read the series so far.

If it were up to us …

If the Lord had relied upon men to fulfill their duties before fulfilling His oaths there would be no reason at all to make covenants in the first place. He was on the safest ground possible, and could have promised the universe without having to concern Himself about fulfilling anything. We all fail. Christians know that unless God is faithful to stand behind His promise in the gospel, we are all done for. Salvation under the New Covenant blood of Christ cannot depend upon us. Inner spiritual perfection is even more impossible for us to achieve than the outward obedience of the Law (1 Jn. 1:8, 10). If God’s promise of salvation and eternal life depended for an instant on our works, heaven would have one human inhabitant—Jesus!

It is for this reason that God only made one bi-lateral covenant with men: the Mosaic covenant. Exodus 24 records the solemn oath which the children of Israel took:

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Covenants: Clarity, Ambiguity, and Faith (6)

Read the series so far.

The oath is the decisive ingredient in any covenant. We have already taken a look at the oath which the people took in answer to God’s Book of the Covenant in Exodus and have briefly examined the oaths of several of the other Divine covenants. We conclude that examination here.

C. Phinehas (“Priestly”)

Since I have treated this covenant elsewhere in some detail I shall just briefly rehearse the salient facts.

Owing to the zeal of Phinehas, Aaron’s grandson, a devastating plague was stopped and God’s wrath appeased (Num. 25: ). Although Phinehas could have had no idea what God would do next, his honoring of God’s holiness elicited a quite un-looked-for covenant between God and Phinehas’s offspring (Num. 25:13; Psa. 106:28-31). This covenant stands behind the promise of ministering Levites in New covenant contexts as seen in Jeremiah 31:14; 33:17-18, 21-22; Ezekiel 44:15, and other places.

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Covenants: Clarity, Ambiguity, and Faith (Part 3)

Read part 1 and part 2.

In the Bible there is always a correspondence between God’s words and His actions. You see it in the Creation narratives: “God said…and it was so.” You see it in the gospel: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” You see it in such mundane places as the curing of Naaman, or Jesus’ healing of Jairus’s daughter. When God says He is going to do something, you can bank on it. While there are places where God relents on judgment (especially after intercession), our faith depends upon the fixity of His meaning. God will do what He says He will do.

This is important on two fronts: first because God must be as good as His word or His character is in question. God’s attributes of veracity and immutability stand behind His promises. The second reason God must mean what He says is because God requires faith from us. Faith must “know” what it is that is to be believed. Faith cannot thrive where ambiguity is let in. Faith has to be able to separate truth from error, or we are wasting our time warning people against error. If the meaning is uncertain, doubt has a foothold.

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Covenants: Clarity, Ambiguity, and Faith (Part 2)

Read part 1.

The subject of this article is how covenants clarify and underline specific terms about certain important (indeed, central) theological topics. If we all spoke the truth and we all could hear it unimpeded by sin’s effects, there would be no need of covenants. Covenants presuppose subjects (at least one) who have a propensity to diverge from an important truth. (It is for this reason that any pre-fall covenants, which are exegetically weak and empty in the first place, seem superfluous).

Covenants also assume the parties to the covenant (at the bare minimum) understand and acknowledge the terms of the covenant.

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